Dr. Bill, what's going on here? I consider myself a reasonably attractive, in good shape, gay man in his early forties, and I do okay in the bar scene and on line. But I notice more and more that -- to be charitable -- chubby guys seem to be getting a lot of attention in gay bars. I'm not necessarily talking about bears or chubby-bears, but just obese -- sometimes morbidly obese -- guys, often effeminate, who seem to be attracting men who are much more attractive than they are. What's going on here? The other night I saw a good-looking guy rejected by a man who made an instant beeline for a super-plump homely fellow with zits and was making out with him. I mean, didn't it used to be that most gay men would put on their profiles "no fats, no femmes." What happened to make these -- to me -- gross guys so "sexy" all of a sudden?" Annoyed in New York City.
First of all, there's no accounting for taste. There are guys who won't look twice at a guy with a shaved head and goatee, while others are drawn to them like moths to a flame (thank goodness for me). I imagine the same is true for chubby guys. But I have noticed some changes over the years, maybe relating to the emergence of bear culture, where it isn't about being young, slender, having a full head of hair, or being conventionally handsome. Still, some people think it's getting a little out of hand.
Why would a handsome guy -- as you and I and others have observed -- want to make out and go off with a man who, by most objective standards, is just the opposite of him? I can think of at least two reasons.
Even good-looking guys can suffer from low self-esteem. Some men are intimidated by other "hot" guys and would just as soon be serviced by someone who is much less attractive. They may have issues that we know nothing about -- sexual problems, or are HIV positive -- and figure a less attractive man will be so grateful to have them that they'll overlook things that the hotter guys -- who can pick and choose -- may not. Often when a good-looking person chooses an "ugly" or "slovenly" person for a sex partner, it's an expression of the former's self-hatred.
Then we have to remember that Love is Blind. Some people change over the years, lose their looks, and become much less attractive than their partners. But the other partner is still in love, and when he kisses the other guy, he's kissing the man he remembers, the man he was so attracted to long ago. I think that must be a case with a couple who come into my usual hang-out all the time and just stand there and make out while others around them are shaking their heads and wondering what one guy sees in the other.
And, again, there really is no accounting for taste. Some people see something in somebody that you or I may not see.
There have always been chubby chasers, people who found something erotic about excessive avoirdupois. [As well as guys who were attracted to effeminate men, perhaps because they feel superior to them.] A few years back,when I was much heavier than I am today, I was often approached by men who seemed to like me because of the extra weight. Frankly it grossed me out a bit, so I promptly went on a diet.
Many years ago when I was skinny, I went with a fat friend to a party given by Girth and Mirth, a group for chubbies and their chasers. I remember being practically chased around the room by obese guys, but no one was chasing them, and I felt that was kind of unfair. I mean this was supposed to be a group for men who found portly fellows sexy, so what was going on?
But now the situation seems to have changed a bit. One acquaintance recently said to me "The only guys who get laid these days are fat guys."
Well, that's a "gross" exaggeration of course.
But in a sense it's nice to know that there is literally somebody for everyone, that virtually everyone is somebody's type.
As long as you are somebody's type, don't worry about the ones who turn up their noses at you and walk out the door with somebody that -- to you -- looks like they escaped from a circus sideshow. [No offense intended to anyone. I mean, I know I'm not exactly "Brad Pitt." Who isn't all that great anyway.]
I mean, better them than you, right?